What Factors Led To The Provision Of Britain's Fourth Television Channel? How Did Channel Four Change Public Service Broadcasting?

1970 words - 8 pages

Many factors led to the introduction of Channel Four in Britain in1982. There was a common concurrence that there was not a channel that was representative of the minority groups of Great Britain and that after the BBC was given a second channel, it seemed inevitable that another channel would follow suit. I will be discussing these issues that led to the final decisions of the new channel that is now Channel Four including the pressure groups which campaigned for it, the governmental oppositions which were involved, the Annan Report of 1977, the new Broadcasting Act of 1980 and the responses to the new channel when it was first transmitted by critics and the public.The reason why television ...view middle of the document...

Those who formed the minority groups of Britain included feminist campaigners, gay rights activists and ethnic/cultural minorities. During the period in the 1970s when proposals were being put forward for a new television channel, campaigners of interest groups were trying hard to put in ideas about how this new project should be able to work outside the system of the BBC and ITV. The Association of the Viewers and Listeners wanted it to be more receptive to it's audience. They felt that the current state of broadcasting was not morally adequate and was too conservative.Back in the 1960s when a group called Clean Up Britain was criticizing television (especially the BBC) of demoralizing the Christian faith, Hugh Greene, who was director General of the BBC at the time, banned the leader, Mary Whitehouse, from being featured in any area of the BBC (including the radio) so as to stop giving her publicity, this move sparked a huge media interest simply because she was banned from the BBC (BBC, 1997). The kind of power that institutions like the BBC was vast and plans were put forward for the type of institutions that would enable all different producers to show their work and not be overshadowed by larger organizations who were already reputable and established.The Labour Government of 1974 appointed Lord Annan to make proposals for a new television channel. People felt that this new channel should produce material of a more radical nature and that it should be very different to the BBC and ITV channels. It was agreed that this station would have greater accountability to the public (in fact, all the institutions do have accountability towards the public but through other bodies e.g., the ITA and the government) also that small independent companies would produce material for the channel to make way for new and radical directors."The article examines both the contributions made by those on the left of the Labour Party to the committee together with the motivations of the Labour government in agreeing to an inquiry, and suggests that the final report was a model example of a compromise between different visions of broadcasting." (Media, Culture and Society, March 2002)When the report came out in 1977, there was an agreement that they (Channel Four) would have a diversity of services and that that the structure of the service would be flexible and nationally recognized when in comparison to the BBC and ITV (their image should NOT mirror that of the BBC or ITV). Editorial independence means that different voices could be heard, they fully supported the work of new up and coming producers, not just those who are already established. This is all in keeping with the new radical ideas that were previously not considered. Channel Four was to be a channel that has never been seen before, something which covers all aspects of society inside and outside of Britain.As the committee was set up by the Labour Party when they were running in government, in 1979,...

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